- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and the bricks-and-mortar restaurant owners are throwing away a golden marketing opportunity by trying to corral the District’s food-truck vendors.

If I owned a restaurant anywhere near Washington (or any other area with a great variety of food trucks), I would hustle over there and find myself a couple of willing vendors with fully equipped trucks, put them on my payroll and give them a cut of truck sales. Every day at mealtime, those trucks would drive away from my restaurant loaded with a portable selection of what was served back at the shop, along with discount coupons for meals at the restaurant; brochures about our beautiful setting; menus of all the meals, drinks and desserts served there; and maps with available parking clearly marked.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” as they say, and if a restaurateur wants a good portion of all the tourist traffic milling around the city to find his restaurant, he should make sure his pudding is out there for all to taste. This idea would work just as well in the reverse. Some enterprising food-truck vendors could offer their services to local restaurants to get their menus and names literally on the street. Even if a restaurant doesn’t want to make the investment to have a food truck every day, a driver could subcontract with several restaurants, and each could have a specific day of the week.

The overall issue here is not just restaurants, but government control. Governments exist to control, and the rest of us exist to stop them. Business is a good antidote to government. The food businesses in the District need to work together to further their own interests instead of using the government to edge out suspected competition.

DEBRA STEVENSON

Fairfax, Va.

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